Creator of Spongebob dies

NO THIS IS PATRICK!: Spongebob and all of the other characters in Bikini Bottom have made an enormous impact on the world.Infamous creator of Spongebob Squarepants, Stephen Hillenburg, passes away from ALS. 

Stephen Hillenburg, the brains behind the infamous show and character of Spongebob Squarepants, recently died at the age of 57 on Nov. 26.

According to Nickelodeon, the TV network in which Spongebob aired, Hillenburg died of ALS. ALS is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and is a fairly rare disease. ALS is said to plague fewer than 20,000 cases every year.

Hillenburg had only been diagnosed with this neurodegenerative disease about a year, first recognizing the illness in 2017. He fought a difficult battle, but did not die without making a long-lasting impact on his fellow animators in addition to society as a whole.

Spongebob Squarepants was popular in not only America, but also around the world. Since the show first aired in May of 1999, the TV series has been nothing less of impactful. Kids, adults, writers, comedians, animators and creators alike all admire the impact of Hillenburg’s colorful creation of Bikini Bottom.

Jordan Cwierz, writer and director of Rooster Teeth animation, stated in a tweet, “Spongebob Squarepants in its prime was one of the best animated shows ever created, and hugely influential to many aspiring animators and writers who are around now. Thank you, Stephen Hillenburg, and rest in peace.”

According to NPR, Hillenburg originally did not pursue his career in animation. He had begun his career by making the move from his place of birth, Oklahoma, to California, in order to teach marine biology.

Later on, Hillenburg earned a degree from California Institute of the Arts and began working on Rocko’s Modern Life, where he stayed for approximately 4 years.

Hillenburg’s passion for animation and marine biology both inspired him to create Spongebob Squarepants and the undersea world of Bikini Bottom.

He creatively made a world of creatures living under the sea that included a starfish, crab, whale, squid and even nonconventional animals like a squirrel and a sponge, of course.

The 20-year run that the show had was incredibly successful. Beyond just the TV show, the Spongebob franchise expanded to movies, merchandise and toys.

Besides the social fame, Hillenburg was also receiving high recognition for his creation. He won two Emmy Awards as well as six Annie Awards.

Many Washburn students grew up watching Spongebob. This makes the news of Hillenburg’s passing hit really close to home for students such as freshman Tasha Bruna, a physical therapy major.

“My mom kinda didn’t let us watch it, so we would always sneak it when she was in another room or something,” said Bruna.

Many people of Generation Z loved the show and its impacts, so it is very unfortunate that the creator of something so iconic has passed. Even today, many children still watch Spongebob and his adventures in Bikini Bottom.

Hillenburg and his creative input into the world of animation and television has impacted the entire world, and it is unfortunate that an inspiration like himself passed away from such an aggressive disease.

In Nickelodeon’s statement about Hillenburg’s death, they stated that the world will be a positive symbol.

“His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”